WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork/CBS News/AP) — Democrats and Republicans in Congress went on feuding Sunday, and a vote to end a government shutdown will not be happening until noon Monday.
McConnell initially called for 10 p.m. vote to end the shutdown, and he announced that if by Feb. 8, there is no agreement on immigration, the Senate, assuming that the government remains open, would address DACA and border security, as well as increased defense spending. “Let’s step back from the brink” and stop victimizing the American people and get back to work, said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky.
Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, objected, however. He said that he was “happy to continue the conversation,” but said that Democrats and the GOP had “yet to reach an agreement on a path forward.”
McConnell then called for a vote at noon Monday on ending the government shutdown.
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, then stood to explain his vote against the four-week deal on Friday. ”
We need to deal with this situation on immigration, and we shouldn’t wait for the White House to express its preference,” he said. But the majority picked up Flake’s vote tonight. “We’ve worked with the majority leader,” he said, and while the Feb. 8 deadline is “longer than I would like,” it’s still shorter than the 4-week spending bill that was defeated Friday.
As CBS News’ Weijia Jiang reported, the Senate chaplain had opened the Sunday session of the Senate with an urgent prayer for lawmakers.
But the finger-pointing played out as the rare weekend proceedings in both the House and Senate continued all day and into the night Sunday. Lawmakers were eager to show voters they were actively working for a solution — or at least actively making their case why the other party was at fault.
“Great to see how hard Republicans are fighting for our Military and Safety at the Border,” President Donald Trump tweeted Sunday morning. “The Dems just want illegal immigrants to pour into our nation unchecked. If stalemate continues, Republicans should go to 51% (Nuclear Option) and vote on real, long term budget, no C.R.’s!”
The scene highlighted the political stakes for both parties in an election-year shutdown whose consequences are far from clear.
“Headlines all across America are laying the blame for this shutdown right at the feet of senate Democrats and their filibuster,” McConnell said earlier Sunday.
Democrats have gone on rejecting a short-term spending bill the Republicans have proposed to fund the government.
“It all really stems from the president, whose inability to clinch a deal has created the Trump shutdown,” Schumer said.
Democrats refused to provide the votes needed to reopen the government until they strike a deal with President Trump protecting young immigrants from deportation, providing disaster relief and boosting spending for opioid treatment and other domestic programs.
“All along, the president is saying, “I’ll do DACA and Dreamers in return for the wall. He’s got it. He can’t take yes for an answer,” Schumer said.
Some Republican lawmakers have also expressed frustration with the president and the White House.
“I think he’s got a good understanding of what will sell,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, “and every time we have a proposal, it is only yanked back by staff members.”
Graham and more than 20 colleagues from both sides of the aisle huddled to come up with a new compromise, and said they were making progress.
The fighting started after a late Friday vote in which Senate Democrats blocked a House-passed measure that would have kept agencies functioning for four weeks.
Republicans had begun Saturday hopeful they might pick off Democratic support for a three-week version and bring the episode to a quick end. Democrats are insisting on an alternative lasting only several days — which they think would pressure Republicans to cut an immigration deal — and say they’ll kill the three-week version when the Senate votes on it by early Monday.
The shutdown came on the anniversary of Trump’s inauguration. As lawmakers bickered in the Capitol, protesters marched outside in a reprise of the women’s march from a year ago. The president remained out of sight and canceled plans to travel to his resort in Florida for the weekend. He did tweet, making light of the timing by saying Democrats “wanted to give me a nice present” to mark the start of his second year in office.
And he resumed his social media commentary early Sunday, before lawmakers returned to Capitol Hill, tweeting that it was “Great to see how hard Republicans are fighting for our Military and Safety at the Border. The Dems just want illegal immigrants to pour into our nation unchecked.” He suggested that if the stalemate drags on, majority Republicans should consider changing Senate rules to do away with the 60-vote threshold to advance legislation and “vote on real, long term budget.”
Trump earlier had worked the phones, staying in touch with McConnell, while White House legislative affairs director Marc Short and budget chief Mick Mulvaney met at the Capitol with House Republicans. GOP lawmakers voiced support for the White House stance of not negotiating while the government was shuttered.
Tempers were short and theatrics high.
Lawmakers bickered over blame, hypocrisy and even the posters brought to the House floor. While neither chamber voted on a measure to open the government, the House did vote on whether a poster displayed by Republican Rep. Bradley Byrne of Alabama violated the House rules on decorum. The House voted to allow the poster, which bore a photo of Schumer and the quote “the politics of idiocy.”
Republicans blamed the breakdown on Schumer. Democrats increasingly focused their messaging on criticizing Trump, whose popularity is dismal. Democrats were using his zigzagging stance in immigration talks — first encouraging deals, then rejecting them — to underscore his first, chaotic year in office.
“Negotiating with President Trump is like negotiating with Jell-O,” Schumer said.
Short compared Democrats’ actions to “a 2-year-old temper tantrum.”
Republicans seemed content to hope additional Democrats will break as pressure builds and the impact of the shutdown becomes clearer. GOP lawmakers argued that Democrats were blocking extra Pentagon money by keeping government closed and thwarting a long-term budget deal.
But pressure on Republicans could mount when the new business week begins and the impact becomes more apparent to the public.
The Statue of Liberty and Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell were closed, but visitors had access to other sites such as Yellowstone. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke tweeted a photo of him talking to students at the World War II Memorial in Washington, blocks from White House.
Social Security and most other safety-net programs were unaffected by the lapse in federal spending authority. Critical government functions continued, with uniformed service members, health inspectors and law enforcement officers set to work without pay. But if no deal is reached before Monday, hundreds of thousands of federal employees will be furloughed.
For leverage, Democrats were banking on Trump’s wobbly presidency and the GOP’s control of the White House, the House and Senate — a triumvirate that until now had never allowed a government closure to occur.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called Republicans “so incompetent and negligent that they couldn’t get it together to keep the government open.”
Democrats have been seeking a deal to protect so-called Dreamers. About 700,000 of them have been shielded against deportation by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, which Trump halted last year. He’s given lawmakers until early March to pass legislation restoring the protections, but he’s demanded added money for his proposed border wall with Mexico as a price.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)